Skype is the greatest invention of the 21st century

That’s a pretty bold claim, right ? Of all the things that we’ve gained in terms of medicine, travel and of course the internet itself, why would I choose this one ?

Because if you’ve seen the smiling faces of two great grandmothers, separated by a thousand kilometres, living in tiny rural communities that don’t even have a postal service, showing off their new great grandchildren or introducing the new family members who have just married into the family you will understand instantly. The invention of the telephone was nothing compared to the ability to video chat.

Like many inventions, we never thought we needed it. We thought it was a silly novelty. And then we had it, and we used it, and suddenly we realised we couldn’t live without it.

There is nothing that compares to showing your distant sister your granddaughter’s pregnant stomach or introducing her new husband and having them smile and wave to each other.

The best thing is that it doesn’t require any great wealth or special ability. You don’t need a Facetime equipped iPhone. You don’t even need broadband. You can use Skype on a cheap $50 smartphone and a 3G connection. Or as we did this week, using the eldest daughter’s laptop, on a wifi connection borrowed from the neighbour.

The way Skype brings people together is amazing.

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